Back when bumper stickers seemed to be on every other fender, I had two favorites. Here's the first:
For me, it’s not a call to rebel simply for the sake of rebellion, but to discern whether there might just be a better, more evolved way to live, or act, or be. It’s a mandate, basically, to challenge the status quo. And I have. I do. I will.
I think of my involvement over the years in the peace movement, for example. The very
asking— Are there other ways to resolve this conflict peacefully (whether in a classroom or in another country)? How many nuclear weapons are enough? What are the effects of sanctioned screen violence and war toys on my children?—was a reflective and respectful questioning that often prompted inspired action—whether writing a peace curriculum for a national church body, creating Book Nook collections, like “World in One Peace,” “Lots of Ways to Be,” and “Healers and Helpers;” demonstrating on a freeway ramp week in and week out around one or another peace-related issue; or, on one memorable occasion with thousands of others, wrapping a miles-long peace ribbon around the Pentagon. They were all ways I could witness, be proactive about my stated values, and, as a bonus, be in good company, honoring a long line of activists whose historic example continues to inspire.
My other fave followed from the first—generated, quite possibly, as a joke. And, despite the fact that it made me smile as well when I first saw it, this motto or mantra definitely “spoke” to me:
It’s the call to keep an open mind. To frame a broader definition of what constitutes reality. Throughout history, innovators and explorers have been derided and discounted for promoting ideas that challenged conventional wisdom or time-honored “truths” or the science of the day.
There’s the Dalai Lama’s assertion that the state of our being matters more, ultimately, than the extent of our doing. And the current concept regarding the power of intention to manifest reality—Mike Dooley’s “thoughts become things—so choose the good ones,” for example, and Wayne Dyer’s “you’ll see it when you believe it.”
When it comes to certain phenomena—what the Buddhists call “auspicious coincidence” or synchronicity; the highly conscious kids coming into the earth plane now in great numbers; continuing consciousness after “death;” the existence of orbs and spirit guides and, yes, angels as well as guides in our midst—I’m among the yay-sayers rather than the nay-sayers.
Seek, and You Shall Find
An unexpected event decades ago, in my early twenties, jump-started this kind of questioning. One afternoon, I found myself near the ceiling looking down at my body, resting in bed. My physical brain was still intact—down there in my cranium—but my thoughts, or consciousness—along with some essence of me—was unquestionably hovering up above! I later discovered that I’d had an out-of-body experience, or OBE, and this discovery turned me into an explorer, too. I’ve since read countless books on metaphysics and quantum physics and benefited from mind-expanding workshops and eye-opening, mystical experiences.
I’ve imaginatively traveled to other dimensions at the Monroe Institute in Virginia, founded decades ago by Robert Monroe who had many OBEs and wrote a series of books about this phenomenon. My daughter, Liv Lane, grew up to become an intuitive advisor and author who communicates on behalf of clients with spirit guides and loved ones on the Other Side. Is it any wonder that I’d write a story that takes for granted the existence of a family in which one of its members happens to make her living communicating with the “dead,” and another secondary character, her daughter, struggles with the prospect of having inherited her gift?
My explorations have often begun with a healthy skepticism, but countless validations of this reality have led to experiences of pure wonder. And, at times of great loss, I’ve experienced not only consolation, but the comfort of different kinds of afterlife communication. In other words, in my life, the so-called paranormal is everyday normal. It informs my writing and my outlook. And it merits acknowledgment for the ways it enriches, empowers, and makes for inspired living. Click here for a list of my favorite metaphysical books and resources.